The man who helped Kathleen Wynne to victory in the 2014 election has been receiving lucrative contracts directly from the premier’s office according to documents obtained by The Rebel through a Freedom of Information request.
David Herle is the principal player behind a company called The Gandalf Group and according to the bio on the company website, Herle “served as Premier Kathleen Wynne’s campaign co-chair and steered the Ontario Liberals to a majority government in 2014.”
That fact alone has some wondering about the propriety of Herle and his firm billing the taxpayer for almost $900,000 for “research services” in the last fiscal year from one office alone.
A request for a list of contracts awarded by the Cabinet Office at Queen’s Park for the 2015-2016 fiscal year shows a list of 30 contracts, none as big as the ones Herle charged taxpayers for. There are two separate contracts listed for The Gandalf Group, one for $836,600 and another for $49,155. Both contracts simply say “Commissioned Research Services.”
A request to the premier’s office asking what kind of research services were provided was not answered, instead a vague statement was issued about how, “Polling is a cost-effective method of measuring public awareness and attitudes on current and emerging public policy issues.”
Wynne spokesperson Jennifer Beaudry told The Rebel via email that, the hiring of Wynne’s campaign manager was done through a fair and transparent process.
“Every company must be a qualified vendor of record and compete for a project against no less than 5 competitors. The final decision about which vendor is best suited for a project is made by a committee of at least 3 non-partisan public servants,” Beaudry said.
Beaudry even cited polling done for the government by global polling firm Ipsos to determine the success of the #WhoWillYouHelp campaign against sexual violence. While Ipsos did conduct research on behalf of the Government of Ontario, the contract was not awarded through Wynne’s personal department, the Cabinet Office.
In fact, the only polling or research contracts awarded directly through Wynne’s department in the 2015-2016 fiscal year went to Herle’s Gandalf Group.